LGBTQ people, ‘equality voters’ overwhelmingly supported Biden

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This story was originally published by The 19th

An overwhelming majority of LGBTQ+ people and voters who support them cast their vote for President-elect Joe Biden in the 2020 election, according to a new poll.

The poll, released by polling firm GQR and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), shows 83 percent of LGBTQ+ voters supported Biden and 79 percent of “equality voters” — people who support candidates who are supportive of LGBTQ+ rights and will vote against candidates who aren’t — backed the president-elect.

HRC data shows 29 percent of equality voters voted in 2018. That number increased to 37 percent in this year’s election, according to HRC.

Alphonso David, president of HRC, credited the outreach fieldwork that his group — the nation’s largest LGBTQ+ civil rights organization — did to turn out equality voters. He said the new polling data shows “equality is a winning issue.”

“The majority of people support equality. We have more equality voters who are engaged in the electoral process this year than any other year, and we are increasing the number of people who label themselves as equality voters,” he said.

The poll represents a survey of 1,400 people who voted in the 2020 election, including an oversample of voters in Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Texas.

The 83 percent turnout for LGBTQ+ voters reflects data collected in other post-election polls. A GLAAD election survey of LGBTQ+ voters showed 81 percent support for Biden. An AP VoteCast survey showed Biden winning 73 percent of the LGBTQ+ vote.

“Any narrative that we have seen over the past few weeks suggesting that LGBTQ voters are not really as supportive of Biden as they were in prior years is just simply wrong,” David said.

Anna Greenberg, managing director of GQR, said President Donald Trump’s 2016 election and subsequent policies on LGBTQ+ issues — HRC has tracked how those policies have hurt members of the community — further elevated inequality issues and the importance of civil protections. That has meant growing support for the Equality Act, which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. According to the latest poll, 70 percent of people support the Equality Act, including 50 percent of Trump voters. That is a 5-point increase in support compared to 2018.

“The irony of Trump is by behaving in the way he has, he sort of created more of a constituency,” she said. “It’s a diverse coalition, especially when you start looking at people who are under the age of 30. You may not feel the effects in the next six months, but certainly in the next five to 10 years, as millennials become a bigger share of the electorate, I think you’re going to see more and more pressure for policy change around this.”

HRC has made passage of the Equality Act its number-one legislative priority in the new year. Biden has vowed to pass the Equality Act within his first 100 days in office.

“Otherwise we’re living in a country where there’s a patchwork of legal protections,” David said.

The poll also shows that equality issues, such as rights for immigrants, people of color and LGBTQ+ people, played a large role in the president-elect’s vote total. Among Biden voters in the poll, equality issues ranked second as the most important reason to support him. The first was coronavirus.

But equality issues ranked as the top reason that poll respondents voted against Trump.

“When voters went to the ballot box or when they sent in their ballot by mail, they were really thinking about LGBTQ people, people of color and immigrant groups that have been targeted by Trump,” David said.

It was a record-shattering year for LGBTQ+ candidates running and winning political office, including transgender lawmakers nearly doubling in statehouses around the country. But groups like Victory Fund also noted a “dramatic increase” in homophobic and transphobic attacks against some of those candidates.

David said the new polling data shows there’s no place for those attacks in politics.

“Despite what anti-equality forces would like us to believe, voters are not energized by hatred,” David said. “They’re energized by inclusiveness. They’re energized by equality. They’re energized by people who will be standing up for all of us, not just some of us.”

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons

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